Emerald Cockroach Hunter

Ampulex compressa

Emerald Cockroach Hunter, Ampulex compressa, Kenya. Photo © by Michael Plagens

Wundanyi, Taita Hills, Kenya, 28 May 2017.

As their name implies these insects are predators of cockroaches. Only the females hunt and they do so by entering cracks and crevices and other dark recesses where cockroaches hide by day. Upon finding a suitable prey the wasp inflicts a sting that partially paralyzes yet allows the wasp to walk the cockroach away and to a previously excavated chamber. There the wasp applies an egg to the surface of the cockroach. The cockroach remains in a near comatose condition as the hatching wasp larva begins feeding. Finally the cockroach is killed as the wasp matures and pupates. The wasp larva by metamorphosis is transformed from a grub-like larva into the active jewel like adult wasp.

Ampulicidae -- Sphecoid Wasp Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens. Page created 28 Aug. 2017,
updated 20 April 2018.